Protein Science Conference Gets Behind Foreshore Rehabilitation


North Lorne is returned to its former glory thanks to Protein Society support.

The mouth of the Erskine River on the Lorne Foreshore has been revitalized by the Great Ocean Road Coast Committee (GORCC) thanks to financial support received from the annual Lorne Conference on Protein Structure and Function.

The conference runs over five days each February and has been held in Lorne since 1976. The special event attracts approximately 450 protein scientists gathering together to participate in trade workshops, displays, social events and to highlight leading edge protein science.

In 2008, the conference organising committee was inspired by growing climate change concerns to take proactive steps to reduce the conference’s environmental footprint.  In preparation for their 34th Conference in 2009, the committee chose to make an environmental contribution to the Lorne region, in recognition of the many years they had been visiting the area and made a financial donation to GORCC, the Crown Land Committee of Management for the Lorne Foreshore.

The Project Begins

In January 2009 the coastal project commenced to remove weeds and re-establish native vegetation along the coastal reserve from the Erskine River mouth to Stirling Street. The aim of the project was to rehabilitate Lorne’s native vegetation as it provides habitat for a range of native animals and gives the town its distinctive bushy character. A wide variety of weeds threaten Lorne’s natural areas, both inland and along the coast.

The above pictures are of the North Lorne site in October 2008 before the rehabilitation work commenced.

GORCC installed information signs at the site to create awareness about environmental weeds and encourage people with gardens in Lorne and other coastal towns to rid their gardens of invasive plants as many of the weeds are garden escapees.

North Lorne Rehabilitation Sign

 

The above pictures are of North Lorne in January 2009, this was in the early stages of the rehabilitation project.

The above pictures are of North Lorne in June 2009, after the environmental weeds were removed.

The Results

The funding has been used to purchase indigenous seedlings, planting and weed control conducted by GORCC staff, contractors and student volunteers. Native plants lost amongst the weed infestations have been restored in the process, including some beautiful old Eucalypts. The areas have been revegetated with a wide variety of local species including approximately 1200 plants in 2010, for example:

  • 200 Allocasuarina verticillata (Drooping Sheoak)
  • 100 Stylidium armeria  (Common Trigger-plant)
  • 100 Acaena nova-zelandii ( Bidgee-Widgee)
  • 200 Lomandra longifolia (Spiny-head Mat-rush)
  • 50 Dianella brevicaulis (Small flower Flax Lily)
  • 100 Leptospermum scoparium (Manuka)
  • 3 Correa alba (White Correa)
  • 19 Olearia ramulosa (Twiggy Daisy-bush)
  • 50 Leucopogon parviflorus (Coast Beard Heath)

The above pictures are of North Lorne in December 2010 after the native revegetation was completed.

Volunteer School Students Get Involved

In the August 2009 representatives from 24 victorian schools attended the Junior Landcare Victorian Youth Environment Conference held in Lorne. The Junior Landcare Conference promotes the environment within schools throughout Australia, encouraging students to come together and educate each other about a range of environmental topics. The funding provided opportunities for the student delegates to engage in hands on coastal care supported by GORCC staff.

Upcoming Conference

This coming February conference delegates will return for the 36th Lorne Conference on Protein Structure and Function, hosted by Erskine Mantra Resort. For more information about the conference visit their website www.lorneproteins.org.

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